Most plan sponsors have neither the time nor resources to conduct a plan vendor search without the assistance of an industry expert. FIA has significant experience providing vendor search assistance, which we offer as a standalone project or as part of a broader retainer relationship. Our process is comprehensive and thorough and will serve as evidence of our clients having followed a prudent fiduciary process in selecting a plan vendor.
The steps in our process are listed below:
Step 1: Meet with client and develop RFP questionnaire: We meet with the client to determine the unique goals and objectives of the search. We strive to understand what the client likes/dislikes about their current vendor and what the expectations are for the new provider. From this information gathering process, we then create a customized, comprehensive RFP questionnaire.
Step 2: Send RFP questionnaire to appropriate vendors: Utilizing our proprietary vendor database, as well as our experience with various plan vendors, we determine which vendors most appropriately match the plan’s characteristics and service needs. At this point we submit the RFP to the vendors we have identified.
Step 3: Analyze RFP responses: Once the responses are received, we prepare an executive summary of each response and provide a detailed comparative analysis that highlights all key factors, services, fee differentiators and pros/cons of each vendor in light of the client’s goals and objectives.
FIA’s Vendor RFP Analysis Report includes:
- Outline of client goals, objectives, and priorities
- Vendor overview and demographic data
- Vendor comparison matrix with key criteria
- Client servicing model
- Record keeping / administration
- Plan design consulting
- Testing and compliance
- Plan sponsor / participant reporting
- Participant services
- Participant education and advice offerings
- Conversion process
- Trustee services
- Fees / Full Fee Disclosure Analysis
- Summary of competitive advantages / disadvantages of each vendor
Step 4: Meet with client to present the RFP analysis and initial recommendations: After we present the analysis, we then assist the client in determining which vendors to invite in for a finals presentation.
Step 5: Coordinate and attend finalist presentations/assist with final selection: We notify the finalists, set the agenda and coordinate the meeting logistics. We attend the finalist presentations and assist with questioning. We will help with site visits, if needed. We then prepare a summary analysis to help lead the client to a final selection or otherwise help establish next steps if more work is needed prior to final vendor selection.
Step 6: Develop investment menu and transition strategy: Once a vendor has been selected, we develop a best-ideas investment menu with a competitive fee structure that meets the client’s unique needs. We remain intimately involved during the vendor transition process by assisting with written communications, document review and a recommended fund mapping strategy. We will participate in vendor calls and participant communications as requested by the client. By remaining involved in the transition, we can help to assure a successful transition process to the new plan provider.
The work we conduct in this area provides us with a regular stream of competitive data on product features and pricing that not only benefits clients who utilize our vendor search services, but also benefits all of our defined contribution plan clients, as we use this data to help with plan benchmarking for our entire client base.